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Muscat endures tough start to 2017 campaign

13th March, 2017
Supercars Super 2 Series Round 1 Clipsal 500
Hi All, Well were back into the swing of things for season 2017, after a very busy off season for Garry Rogers Motorsport to build 4 brand new cars, we were looking forward to hitting the track in Adelaide after a successful first test at winton.

Practice: Position 2 Overall
Practice was all about laps, the Clipsal layout is a concrete jungle and it is a place where you need to build up speed as it can bite you if you push too early, from practice 1 to practice 2 we made a few changes to the car to help it turn better as well as not over rotate into the corner and it worked, the car felt better straight away, in practice 2 we went to position 1 when we put our greens on as everyone does in the last 10 minutes for a qualifying simulation and i think the car was pretty strong we knew we could fix a couple of things but overall we were very happy. We got pipped with 1 minute to go in the session but position 2 was still very strong and a confidence boost for the whole team.

Qualifying: P9
Not what we hoped for in this session, we were quite confident of at least being in the top 4 cars for this session but with two red flags distributing our plan of attack for this session, we never got to go on green tyres for our second run for the session, P9 wasn’t the end of the world but i do think we could have done a lot better, but after a debrief with the team we still agree our plan would have worked out great if the red flags did not disturb the session. Still plenty to fight for!

Race 1 : P6
Race 1 was finally getting underway, a nineteen lap journey, as we got away i had a great launch jumping up two positions to p7, as we got to turn four i got forced to the outside and lost a few positions, by the end of the first lap i was in P15, (not the start i wanted) after things settled down i started to make my way up the field again, passing cars nearly every lap, the car felt as good as its ever been, we were matching the leader pace wise which was a great sign, after a difficult start we managed to finish P6 which could have been better if we had a better first lap but then again it could of been a whole lot worse, so to look at the positives we were starting on the 3rd row of the grid for Saturday’s race two and we were third fastest in the race.

Race 2: DNF
Race 2, we had another great start moving from 6th to 3rd at the first corner and immediately after the start the safety car came out for a incident on the start line, after 5 laps behind the safety car racing resumed and things got going again, sitting nicely in 3rd with Paul Dumbbell right in front I was fairly confident as our tyre pressures come up we can fight near the end of the race as we typically run lower pressures than usual to be very strong at the end, on the end of the 8th lap we encounter a massive engine misfire were we pretty much had no power from the engine unit so I came into pitlane and ultimately didn’t leave as our problem could not be fixed in the lane, a massive bummer as we were looking very good in a top 3 position.

Race 3: DNF
Starting from the rear of the grid and having a good nights sleep I pretty much forgot about the Saturday race and I was ready to fight in race three, there was still points to fight for and if we had a good clean race i was confident of a top 8 result. after a bizarre start where the lights went out and on then out again i made up 7 places to p15 when the safety car came out again for a start line crash due to the lights playing up, after we did 8 laps under safety car the stewards decided to readress everyones starting positions to the original position so this meant we had to go back to 23rd with over half the race already run, this really hurt our chances of a good result, as racing resumed i made up 5 spots after lap 10 but then again we had a massive engine misfire the same problem as Saturday which again ended our race.

Overall it was a strong weekend for us pace wise but our reliability issues really hurt our chance of a podium result, it was a massive shame as the boys back at the workshop cut their christmas holidays short to make sure these cars would be reliable and very fast, at the end of the day it was an electrical issue which nobody saw coming as the whole electrical loom in the car is brand new. I love being apart of Garry Rogers Motorsport and as a team we will move forward to Round 2 at Symons Plains a track which i have never been before but i will be going there with a nothing to lose attitude so we will be more aggressive but still very smart about the way we go racing, i am looking forward to putting our best foot forward and trying to get our first win and hopefully a podium result. Once again i would like to thank the boys back at the shop they are the most committed group of people you will find in motorsport and there is still plenty of racing to go for 2017 so bring it on.


Richard Muscat

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